Bankers Trust Advised First Union

Helping to set the stage for First Union Corp.'s acquisition of Southeast Banking Corp. last week was a surprising participant, Bankers Trust Co.

The mergers-and-acquisition unit of the money-center bank advised First Union on the purchase and helped negotiate terms of the deal with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Plenty to Choose From

Because the North Carolina bank company could have had its pick of Wall Street investment banking firms, some investment bankers and analysts wondered at the choice. Bankers Trust has a strong reputation for trading, but has not been prominent in M&A.

"I certainly did make note of it," said Sandra Flannigan, an analyst at Alex. Brown & Sons, Baltimore.

It was in late May that First Union, then just starting to consider a federally assisted bid for Southeast, hired Bankers Trust. Richard Brown, a managing director in charge of the project at Bankers Trust, said his company edged out four or five competitors to get the mandate.

A source familiar with the takeover said Kidder, Peabody & Co. and Morgan Guaranty Trust Co. were among the competing firms.

First Union's usual adviser is Goldman, Sachs & Co., which was working with Southeast.

Mr. Brown's nine-member financial services team represented Meritor Savings Bank last year when it sold its $5 billion branch network to Mellon Bank Corp.

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